A new type of computerized tomography (CT) scanner – the first of its kind in Israel that significantly reduces the amount of radiation to which the patient is exposed and is so fast that patients don’t have to hold their breath during chest scans – has been installed at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.The machine, which replaces an old CT scanner, has already been used to scan around 1,000 patients during its month-long running-in period. Prof. Irith Hadas, director of the hospital’s radiology department, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that it is more expensive than conventional CTs, but did not give the price. It was first put on sale by the Germany’s Siemens company about 18 months ago.Hadas said there are 200 of the sophisticated devices installed around the world, but it has not yet been ordered by other Israeli hospitals. She added that she expects that Somatom Definition Flash scanner will become the accepted “stateof- the-art” CT in coming years. Shaare Zedek radiologists and technicians spent several days in Germany to learn how to use it.The bed moves through the scanner at about twice the speed of conventional models, which eliminates the feeling of claustrophobia in most patients, says Siemens. In addition, its very speedy scanning speed enables complete scans of the entire chest region in just 0.6 seconds. This offers considerable advantages when scanning the elderly, children and emergency, and intensive-care unit patients.A scan of the entire heart can be performed in only 250 milliseconds, which is shorter than half a heartbeat.In addition, it is possible for physicians to reliably display a heart with a fast pulse or an irregular heart beat without using beta blockers, thus simplifying the workflow and yielding clinical and financial advantages, the company says. Until now, whole-body scans took more than 10 minutes to perform from patient preparation to diagnosis; the Somatom Definition Flash does it in just a few minutes, and children don’t have to be sedated before the procedure because they don’t have to remain still.Hadas said the new type of CT can monitor blood floor to the brain and carry out other new functions that could not be done with conventional CTs. The dose of radiation for a spiral heart scan is less than 1 millisievert compared to eight to 40 with the conventional CT.